Nov 30, 2008

Nov 11 On the way...

I was more nervous than I had been in years. I wasn't sure if the airlines were going to let me take my two boats to Ecuador and I’d spent the last month busting my ass to make it happen. I am in Seattle now. The three weeks prior I’ve been completing a bathroom remodel, moving out of my house, and packing for this trip. It’s taken much longer to pack my boats than I had thought. And I have so much stuff at my house! I've been to the Goodwill many times to drop things off just to get rid of them.

Mama Mama, the Ecuadorian gnome, watches the kayak disguise metamorphosis.

It took three hours to wrap the boats in plastic. I started with the playboat, I wanted to make sure I had at least that boat. By the time I was finishing it was apparent the boat weighed a lot, maybe too much. There was so much else to do, though, there wasn’t time to worry about it. The next night I packed the creeker. It didn't have much in it, because I didn't want to have to repack a bunch into a bag if they weren't going to let it come. It was raining pretty hard, too, had been all day. I was so nervous on the way to the airport. My stomach was in knots.

When we got to the front counter there was hardly anyone in the airport. This was good because the attendants at the front counter were probably bored and the boats would at least be entertaining for them. Within a minute of putting the boats on the scale they were making jokes and asking about the contents of my 'bags'. It was fun. We were all laughing and joking. Then the main attendant measured the creeker. "I'm sorry, sir, this is too long to travel on the plane." Oh no. He then looked over to the scale the playboat was on. "I'm sorry, sir, this is overweight. Neither one of these can come. I can put them on a FedEx flight tomorrow, but that is the best I can do for you." Double, oh no.

The Gatekeeper flaunting his power.

I went around with the main attendant for a few minutes, then he decided to call his manager on the walkie-talkie. His manager confirmed to him what he had told me already. "No can do, pal." Damn. I, then, asked to speak with the manager, personally. I went around with him for a couple minutes. I knew if I could get him to okay the creeker I could pull some stuff out of the playboat to get the weight down and all would be good. I should point out that I was never impolite or disrespectful in the least. I wanted to be very clear that I was unhappy about the current circumstances, but I was not mad at them and I was willing to try and work things out. I needed those boats on the plane.

I continued speaking with the manager over the phone and he finally relinquished and allowed the creeker to pass. I'm in. I then told the main attendant of my conversation with his manager and he readily accepted. Now the hustle began. Luckily I had arrived about four hours early in case of something like this. I took the boats from the counter and moved them across to the other side of the thoroughfare, far enough away that they couldn't see exactly what I had, but could see I was moving things around. It took about an hour to get things all situated and taped back up. (Bring tape and scissors) During this hour I took the boat over to the scale three times to check weight. I got both boats under 100 pounds and now it’s off to the races!

Mama Mama knows the pain of repacking boats at the airport. But it's worth it!

The attendant put the stickers on, then it was around the corner to the oversized baggage check in. Almost immediately, the man at this counter said he would have to open up the packages. Oh jeez. I told him he would have to use the utmost care opening it because he could damage it very easily. He looked at the boat. It was 10:30PM by this point. I need to also mention that my girlfriend has been so helpful throughout the day, packing, driving around, saying goodbye, and has been amazingly patient. All she wanted was to see me get on the plane with the boats.

The man looked at the boats, wiped them down to check for explosives, then, put the final stickers on and sent them down the conveyor belt. yesss. Now we have about an hour to kill before I have to walk through the final security gate, so we just sat with each other.

Now what, sucka?

I'm getting on the plane.

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